Deli foods in the South Downs

I forget what it was that first caught my eye when I ‘discovered’ Madelaine’s Kitchen in Midhurst.

They offer a Deli Counter packed full of freshly baked produce from their Bakehouse. Fabulous big fat deli sandwiches, a huge range of the best cheeses, local charcuterie and smoked fish, dry goods, cakes, pastries and serve a damned good coffee.

But if I remember it was cold and wet and despite there being no indoor seating I had to order not one but two of their very tempting pies on offer to takeaway with me.

Fish Pie

Whatever version of the tale is told, the Stargazy Pie story is a story about Mousehole, the ship Inn and the village community.

Stargazy fish pie Mousehole in Cornwall

An odd-looking, if not slightly intimidating creation. The cold fishy stare of the pilchard heads that poke through the shortcrust lid. Their bodies, meanwhile, are tucked under the pastry; a white sauce envelopes them. Salty and formidably traditional, it’s seasoned with coarse pepper and parsley.

Homemade in Hampshire

I did a search for a traditional breakfast fry-up which took me to Mumms in Southsea. But it was the carrot cake which caught my eye.

Home baked carrot cake in Hampshire

I wouldn’t normally order it with a traditional builders breakfast. But this cake was all wrong. The wrong colour and it had that unmistakeable homemade look to it. It didn’t disappoint.

The best homemade carrot cake Portsmouth

Next time forget the full English fry-up. I will settle for a slice of cake and coffee.


The chilli was first brought to Europe from South America by Christopher Columbus. From there it spread rapidly around the world and is now found and grown extensively in Africa, Asia and Europe. Having become the most universally popular spice used by millions of people on a daily basis. It’s popularity rooted in exotic accounts of adventure, destinations, travel and comfort foods.

Best hot chilli sauces in the UK

Which is where Blackfire Artisan Food got started. The result of 30 years of travel and tasting by Belfast native, street artist, grower, sauce alchemist, and chilli fanatic Tim McCarthy.

Artisan comfort foods in the UK

Having eaten street food in Central and North America, Africa, the Far East and the Middle East as well as most of Europe and the Indian subcontinent Tim founded Blackfire in 2014 to satiate his appetite for fiery food.

Homemade artisan chilli sauces in the UK

It’s a small Belfast based company specialising in the creation of unique, handmade, fresh chili sauces. Which are all vegan-friendly, allergen and gluten-free as well as being low in calories. They contain only natural ingredients and are free from added sugar and salt as well as artificial colours or preservatives.

Handmade chilli sauces in the UK

Sussex butchers

Handmade artisan sausages in Hailsham East Sussex

Gourmet artisan sausages Halisham East Sussex in the south of England

The Sussex Larder is a traditional craft and family butcher offering a wide selection of gourmet sausages in addition to their Long Man Brewery signature sausage. Pork blended with seasonings and Sussex Best Bitter with Kentish hops.

Artisan sausages Halisham East Sussex southern England

Pastry Products; steak & chicken pies, sausage rolls.

Homemade sausage rolls Halisham East Sussex the south of England

Pasties and traditional suet puddings.

Homemade artisan pasties Halisham East Sussex the South of England

A Quality Food Company offering Farm Assured prime beef, free-range pork, lamb & fresh poultry from English farms delivered on a daily basis.

Fresh local mutton Halisham East Sussex

Over The Last 20 Years The Sussex Larder Has Built An Enviable Reputation For Producing Additive & Gluten Free Products Including Quiches, Pies, Sausage Rolls, Flour, Easy Roll Pastry, Pastry Shells, all low in salt and sodium

Cured Meats

Food curing has been practiced for thousands of years. Originally to preserve and store meat, fish and vegetables but also to prevent disease.

Salami making in Hampshire the South of England

Whereas today it is more about taste, experience and the value of traditional artisan foods and food making. Whilst parma ham and some authentic Spanish chorizo and Italian salamis are still cured with salt, more often a mixture of salt and potassium nitrate and sodium nitrite are used for curing.

Artisan cured meat and salamis

The Hampshire Salami Company is an artisan maker of Salumi.

Hampshire salami company

The Italian collective for salami and cured meats. All their products are based on Italian recipes, which have been developed over many hundreds of years. They cure it, they sell it, they eat it, teach it and write about artisan salumi and salami making.

Award winning salami in the south of England

Salumi include bresaola, which is made from beef, and also cooked products such as mortadella and prosciutto cotto (cooked), with salami being a specific type of salumi. Salumi can be broadly split into three groups:

The whole cured muscle – such as Pancetta, Prosciutto Crudo (Parma ham), Lonza (cured loin of pork), Capocollo or Coppa (cured collar muscle) and other smaller cuts.

Insaccato – anything that is chopped and stuffed into a skin, such as a natural casing or a synthetic casing which is then cured, dry aged and becomes what we call salami.

Cotto – any combination of the two above which is then cooked, such as Mortadella or Prosciutto Cotto (baked ham)

Artisan home cured salami cheese and bread

Pies & Pasties

On the third Saturday of each month twenty six farmers and producers set up their stalls at the Surbiton Farmers Market.

Artisan pies pasteries and tarts

Selling wholesome fresh meat, fish, farm produce and speciality foods. From locally grown fruit and vegetables to home baked bakery products and local artisan foods.

Pastry tarts Surbiton Farmers Market

Such as Sarah McCloud’s gourmet Sussex Pies which is a family business producing delicious handmade savoury pies and pastries from Hooe in East Sussex. Ranging from rabbit and game to steak and kidney as well as sausage rolls and their black pudding scotch eggs.

Best black pudding scotch eggs

And the Home of Savoury which specialise in Saffins. Bite sized oven-baked savoury muffins. Hand made by Elena Weafer, each carefully crafted recipe inspired by her Mediterranean origins. Most are vegetarian and there are at least three wheat-and-gluten-free variants. Flavours change constantly but particularly popular are spinach and roast sweet potatoes, chorizo and caramelised red onion, as well as black olive and coriander. She also bakes Halloumi Tubes, Kimchini and Sweet Potato Bread Buns.

Homemade food Surbiton Farmers Market


Real bread offers a flavour and freshness you don’t get when it is store bought. Straight out of the oven when its crisp, still hot and eaten with salty farm butter.

Hot bread and farm butter

All the reasons one needs to learn how to bake traditional country fresh loaves in the comfort of your home kitchen. All it takes is a simple course such as those run by Stepping Stones in Lymington.

Artisan Bread baking courses - Farmhouse loaf

Their courses are taught in a domestic kitchen with a maximum of two people so its one on one, a hands on experience. Alan is a classically trained chef who takes the mystique out of bread making introducing you to some of the shortcuts and ‘tricks of the trade’.

Learn how to bake fresh bread

Artisan Family Butchers

I was introduced to the perfect sausage after settling in for an early breakfast in Midhurst.

An early breakfast Midhurst

After which I walked up North St to find the Family Butchers that specialise in making their personalised brand of gourmet artisan sausages.

Michael Courtney Butchers Midhurst

They offer a wide variety, from the traditional pork sausage to their Midhurst Royal which has a bold herby taste. I personally favour their beef and horseradish which I order in bulk and freeze.

Artisan gourmet sausages in the south of England

They are Quality Standard Butchers offering the finest locally sourced British meats as well as scotch eggs, a selection of pies, chesse and deli products

Fresh locally sourced British meat Midhurst South Downs